Appleby advises on Guoco Group’s US$1.1 billion privatisation
06 Mar, 2013
Leading offshore firm Appleby acted as Bermuda counsel for GuoLine Overseas Limited, a wholly-owned indirect subsidiary of Hong Leong Group, in relation to its proposed voluntary cash offer to privatise Guoco for US$1.1 billion by acquiring all issued shares of Guoco other than those it already holds. GuoLine Overseas intends to finance the cash required for the offer from a combination of debt financing provided by Standard Chartered Bank, which also acts as financial advisor to GuoLine Overseas, and internal cash resources.
This deal marks the second largest privatisation of a Hong Kong-listed company in over a decade, while highlighting the deal-making ability of Southeast Asian companies this year. Taking Guoco private will provide Hong Leong Group with greater control to support the future development of Guoco.
The Appleby team was led by John Melia (pictured), corporate partner in Appleby’s Hong Kong office, assisted by associate, Vincent Chan. Banking and asset finance partner, Jeffrey Kirk, acted on behalf of Standard Chartered Bank on the financing side of the deal. Law firms, Freshfields, Slaughter and May, and Linklaters advised on Hong Kong law for GuoLine Overseas, Guoco and Standard Chartered Bank respectively.
Melia commented, “We are continuously seeing privatisation of large conglomerates over the months. This is not a trend seen only amongst Chinese companies as with the privatisation of Alibaba, but Southeast Asia’s companies have also joined the visible trend of going private as well”.
Hong Leong Group is a leading conglomerate based in Malaysia with diversified businesses in banking and financial services, manufacturing and distribution, property development and leisure, and principal investment with presence in North and Southeast Asia, Western Europe and the UK, North America and Oceania.